1.2 The Basic Assumptions of Evolution

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These assumptions are fundamental principles of the doctrine of evolution but, unfortunately, they very seldom if ever appear explicitly in evolutionary writings.

The following assumptions (E1 to E12) are fundamental principles of the doctrine of evolution but, unfortunately, they very seldom if ever appear explicitly in evolutionary writings, although evolutionary findings depend fundamentally on them.

They are usually taken for granted and are often only implied, so that the reader finds it difficult to determine whether the statements made about evolution are based on observational data or are the basic assumptions dressed up as conclusions.

E1: The basic principle, evolution, is taken for granted. F.M. Wuketits, an evolution theorist, writes [W5, p. 11]: “We pre-suppose the essential correctness of biological evolution, yes, we assume that evolution is universally valid.”

Siewing defines biological evolution as follows [S6, p. 171]: “The essence of the theory of evolution is contained in the statement that all systematic categories are eventually related; therefore, all known organisms are descendants of one common ancestor.”

E2: Evolution is a universal principle: “The principle of development not only holds for life on earth; it extends much further. It is quite clearly the most widely valid principle imaginable, because it encompasses the entire universe. . . . All of reality around us is characterized by a history of self-development. Biological evolution is only part of this universal process” (Hoimar von Ditfurth; [D3, p. 22]).

E3a: One should not drag in a creator (or synonyms such as designer, planning spirit, or “demiurge”). Ernest Kahane, a French molecular biologist, formulates it as follows [S5, p. 16]: “It is absurd and absolutely preposterous to believe that a living cell could come into existence by itself; but, notwithstanding, I do believe it, because I cannot imagine anything else.” Assumption E3b follows as a consequence of E3a:

E3b: This world, including all living organisms, is based exclusively on matter and materialistic principles. It follows that the origin of life can only be found in matter. One can therefore exclude the possibility of a spiritual author for matter itself and for all life-forms.

This view frees us from the difficulty of assuming that at some stage during the course of the development of our earth, after animal life had started, something immaterial or psychical, nobody knows from where, stepped in and caused various effects in brains and brain capacities (B Rensch; [R1, p. 235]).

E4: Matter is taken for granted. The law of the conservation of energy together with Einstein’s equivalence of matter and energy, E = mc2, states that the sum total of all energy and all matter in our universe is constant. There is thus no scientific explanation for the origin of matter and energy, and it is therefore necessary to assume that all the energy must have existed before the supposed big bang.

E5: As far as scientific laws are concerned, there is no difference between the origin of the earth and of all life, and their subsequent development (the principle of uniformity).

The mechanisms of the processes through which the earth and all life on earth originated were subject to the same laws that govern the present observable reality (compare assumption C3 of creationism).

E6: Evolution relies on processes that allow increases in organization from the simple to the more complex, from non-life to life, from lower to higher life-forms.

These processes are described as the “self-organization of matter.” The so-called evolutionary factors are mentioned as cause (see E7). In the vein of E6, B. Rensch defines the evolution of the cosmos up to man as follows [R1, p. 235]: “Evolution manifests itself as a continuous progression from the origin of the solar system and the earth, through the assemblage of the first elements of life, followed by true forms of life, and increasingly higher developed groups of animals, leading up to man.”

E7: The following factors are assumed as the driving forces of evolution: Mutation, selection, isolation, and mixing. Chance and necessity, long time epochs, ecological changes, and death are additional indispensable factors which are included in the “actual” evolutionary factors.

E7a: “Mutation and selection are the driving forces of evolution” (K. Lorenz).

Comment: If there were only one single example (experiment or observation) of the origin of a new kind of organism or a new structure, then E7a would have been a derived theory. The mechanisms, mutation and selection, do occur, and the appearance of a new kind would imply new genetic information. Because of the lack of any evidence of new genetic information, E7a remains an assumption.

E7b: Death is an undisputed essential factor in evolution. Biologist H. Mohr states [M2, p. 12]: “If there were no death, then no life would have existed. . . . There is no other way around this axiom of evolutionary theory.”

E8: There is no plan in evolution, neither is there any purpose. No causes should be postulated for the purposefulness perceived in organic life, because that would imply a Creator: “It is not necessary to assume a mysterious guiding principle for the purposefulness observed in the structure and life of all organisms . . . neither was a wise Creator necessary for their origin” (B. Rensch; [R1, p. 66]). Other quotations point in the same direction: “No causes can operate from the future; therefore there can be no pre-determined evolutionary purposes” (H. v. Ditfurth).

E9: There are no definite beginning and end points on the time axis. Anybody can therefore have as much time as he likes for the process of evolution. With a universe oscillating from one big bang to the next, E9 becomes patently obvious [W2, p. 16]: “Many cosmologists embrace the model of an oscillating universe on philosophical grounds, mainly because it glibly evades the issue of Genesis.” Because of the unlimited available time in the future, Carsten Bresch hopefully expects further evolutionary “hits” [B7, p. 291]: “When unlimited time is available, then sometime, somewhere, one individual will progress to the next step when he ‘throws a six.’ ”

E10: The present is the key to the past. This means that present-day observational data may be extrapolated as far back in time as one wishes. Examples: The present annual rate of erosion of the Grand Canyon is 0.15 mm. This leads to an age of 10 million years. The current measured rate of expansion of the universe based on the Hubble constant, places the time of the big bang at 18 thousand million years in the past. Astronomer O. Heckmann criticizes this “remarkable sport” and describes it as calculating with “reckless abandon” [H4, p. 90].

E11: There was a smooth transition from non-life to life. The continuous development from simple atoms and molecules up to man is regarded as a smooth changeover from one example to the next: “The smooth conversion (from non-life to life) is a postulate of a reductionistic explanation” (B.-O. Küppers; [K4, p. 200]).

E12: Evolution will persist in the distant future: “When this planet becomes a ‘monon,’ evolution will enter its intellectual phase. We can only guess about its future course. . . . The direction is illustrated in the development from chaos to an intellectual intergalactic supermind; each one of us is a small part of it all” (Carsten Bresch; [B7, p. 265, 293]).

Comment: It is significant that the enunciations of the doctrine of evolution do not comprise the final conclusions resulting from measurements and observations, but more often than not, they describe the system of basic assumptions. As regards models of the origin of things and life, only theories which fit the concepts of evolution are allowed (the science of evolutionary knowledge!). Sir Arthur Keith summarizes the above as follows: “Evolution is unproven and unprovable. We believe it, however, because the only alternative is an act of creation by a God, and that is unthinkable.”

The evolutionary understanding of the Bible: There is no personal God. Consequently, the Bible has been written BY humans FOR humans, as any other piece of literature. The Bible reflects the thoughts of the time and place of its writing, and thus has no claim to the truth, neither can it be regarded as authoritative.

Did God Use Evolution?

According to the view of theistic evolution, God started the process of evolution and guided and steered it over millions of years. As an information scientist, Werner Gitt critically analyzes and rejects the assumptions and consequences of the doctrine of theistic evolution.

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